Angels Prospect Interview: Warner Madrigal

There may be some hesitancy when you go from position player to the mound but Warner Madrigal had no such reservations. He welcomed the move.

The Dominican Republic native came into the Angels system as a hitter when he signed in July of 2001. He saw 301 games in the outfield and at the plate, hitting .369 in the Pioneer League for Provo in 2003.

That would be the highlight of his career.

Never one to draw a walk, Warner Madrigal's hitting prowess was tied heavily to his batting average. And while he secured quite a few doubles, the 23-year-old was not able to turn the power numbers up a notch, hitting 15 homers for Cedar Rapids in 2005.

He began his third year in the Midwest League last season and his numbers dipped even further across the board. The Angels had been enamored with his arm and decided to try him out on the mound.

It was a smart move.

"I always knew I would be moving to the mound and I was pretty happy to move there," he said.

Madrigal went 2-1 with a 3.75 ERA over 12 games last season for the AZL Angels, saving five games while fanning 13 in 12 innings. An off-season of focusing on pitching ensued and the right-hander found his groove.

It would be easy to envision the conversion taking time. But things seemed to come aligned quickly for the hard-throwing right-hander.

"My first time throwing last year my mechanics were good," Madrigal said. "I don't know how but they were very good."

While the 2007 season marked his fourth season in Cedar Rapids, things have been vastly different. Armed with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s, Madrigal has used his finest tool to his advantage.

"I throw fastball, four-seam and two-seam, a slider and changeup," Madrigal explained. "It hasn't been that difficult. Everything is good. My fastball is 95-96 MPH. Last year, I was throwing 95-97."

That may be an understatement.

Madrigal has been a trooper, working in 47 games and posting a 5-3 record with 14 saves and a 2.21 ERA. He has struck out 64 batters in 53 innings while giving up 40 hits.

And his numbers are even better than that. Since posting a 4.15 ERA over his first 19 outings, Madrigal is touting a 0.86 ERA over his last 28 appearances. Over that span, totaling 31.1 innings, the righty has given up just two earned runs and 14 hits while fanning 43.

"I don't miss hitting," a laughing Madrigal said.

The numbers are certainly encouraging but there is some work to do. He is not fond of the 20 walks he has yielded.

"I am working hard on throwing the ball down in the zone," Madrigal added.

Given the amount of success he has had with just one season of pitching under his belt it is not hard to dream about how good he can be.

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